The Maui News and The Associated Press
HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he will lift restaurant, bar and gym capacity limits in counties that require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter such businesses.
Counties that don’t require such proof will have to continue to demand that restaurants, bars and gyms cap the number of patrons in their establishments at 50 percent of what they are normally able to fit. Currently, Honolulu and Maui are the only counties to require proof of vaccination or test results to enter such businesses. Kauai and Hawaii counties do not do so.
The changes take effect Nov. 12.
“As you all have heard for the last several months, the vaccination is the most widespread and important mitigation measure during this pandemic,” Ige said at a news conference.
In another change, Ige said those who are outdoors at restaurants, bars and and social establishments won’t have to maintain 6 feet of social distance and wear masks as currently required. However, customers indoors at these establishments must continue to remain seated with their party, maintain 6 feet between groups, avoid mingling and wear masks at all times except when actively eating or drinking.
The governor said he believes vaccinations should continue to be required of spectators at outdoor entertainment venues like football stadiums. Masking and vaccination rules allow such events to be held safely, he said.
“We still are requiring vaccinations, especially for those large gatherings, when people will not be required to maintain physical distancing,” Ige said.
To align with new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rules governing international travelers, Ige said the state would begin accepting all vaccinations approved by the World Health Organization. Until now, Hawaii had only accepted vaccinations approved by U.S. authorities.
Starting Monday, non-U.S. citizens traveling directly to Hawaii from an international destination must present both a vaccination record and a negative COVID-19 test result (nucleic acid amplification test or antigen) within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S.
Fully vaccinated U.S. citizens flying directly to Hawaii from an international destination must provide proof of vaccination and present a test taken within three days of boarding a flight to the U.S. Or, citizens who are not fully vaccinated must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of boarding a flight to the U.S.
There will be no additional state requirements for passengers flying directly into Hawaii from an international destination, the state said in a news release. The airlines will screen passengers prior to their departure to the U.S. If foreign passengers fail to meet both requirements and if U.S. citizens fail to meet one of the two requirements, they will not be allowed to board the flight. Once in Hawaii, the CDC will conduct compliance checks.
Tests do not have to be done with trusted travel partners under the new international federal requirements, but they must be done with a trusted partner for unvaccinated travelers flying domestically, the state said.
International passengers entering the U.S. from another state or territory will be treated as domestic travelers when entering the state and must continue to follow the Safe Travels Hawaii program rules, including entering their trip details and filling out a health form through their online Safe Travels account. Travelers may bypass the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine by uploading a vaccination document or a negative nucleic acid amplification test result, which must have been administered by a trusted travel partner within 72 hours of departure for Hawaii.